17 Costco Food Staples to Buy Today & Tomorrow

Costco

The following is a short list of foods that may or may not be available at your Costco. Costco is a great place to shop if you are looking for a bargain. You may think you have to buy a lot of something but this is not always the case. If you buy processed food then this will be true more often. If you buy real, paleo food then it will be the case less often.

If you are a regular shopper at Costco and have items that you purchase frequently that are not listed below then please leave a comment saying what it is. I want people to become educated on what Costco has to offer. This will only help their efforts in living a paleo lifestyle.

1. Kalamata Olives

These come in a large jar and are salted. I usually throw a few handfuls on my big ass salads. Olives are full of monounsaturated fat. If you buy canned olives then please stop. Seek out your local Costco and ask an employee where the kalamata olives are!

2. Kerrygold Butter

This is butter that is created from grass-fed cows living in Ireland. Butter is a health food. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Use this butter to cook with or throw it on your veggies or potatoes. The cost is $5.99 per lb at our local Costco which is very reasonable since its pure fat. It used to come in sticks but is now available in a small 17 oz tub.

3. Kerrygold Dubliner Cheese

My body does not seem to tolerate cheese to well. However, I love the stuff. Kerrygold’s cheese comes from grass-fed cows and so I am ok consuming an oz at a time here and there (sometimes for a few days straight). It’s not raw. It’s pasteurized. Don’t let this stop you if you want some quality cheese. You decide if your body tolerates it. It’s worth the price for sure. I enjoy throwing a little in my big ass salads or enjoying it as a snack.

4. Organic Spinach

If you eat a lot of spinach then you want to buy organic. Why? Spinach is on this list. It’s a bad lists that lists the foods with the most pesticide residue. You’ll notice that all the foods on the dirty dozen have a thick skin or no skin at all. Spinach leaves are bound to be flooded with nasty pesticides unlike avocados or bananas. If you are a member at Costco then you can probably buy organic spinach for a reasonable price. I add spinach to smoothies and sometimes use it as a base for my salads.

5. Organic Spring Mix

This is great for a base for big ass salads. It comes in the same size container as spinach. You want to go organic because spring mix is full of greens which will always have more pesticides compared to foods with thick skins like avocados.

6. Avocados

Sure, these are coming from Chili or Mexico right now. Avocado is still awesome! They are best from California but its difficult for me to go a while without avocado. It’s one of the most versatile foods on the planet. It’s the perfect ingredient for smoothies and is necessarily for guacamole as you all know. Add it to salads, enjoy with eggs, eat it by itself as a snack, etc. If you don’t eat avocados regularly then you may want to start now!

7. Organic Eggs

I prefer local, pastured eggs from the farmers market. These are always best. I can buy 2 dozen organic eggs from Costco for $5.99 which is a very reasonable price. Sometimes, this just has to do.

8. Extra Virgin Cold Pressed Olive Oil

Costco actually has decent olive oil! Cold pressed is key since too much heat oxidizes the polyunsaturated fats. Your Costco may not have cold pressed olive oil but mine does. Don’t cook with olive oil. Add it to big ass salads or drizzle over foods that are already cooked.

9. Frozen, Wild Fish (Mainly Salmon)

Costco carries a variety of frozen, wild seafood for reasonable prices. Salmon seems to be the cheapest unless you go for Coho Salmon which is richer in fats and thus omega 3 fatty acids. Be careful here though… buying Wild is not always best. It depends on where it is coming from. To learn more about the best sources of seafood and fish read many of Mark Sisson’s post on the subject including this one.

10. Wild Caught Alaskan Canned Salmon

The brand available at our local Costco is Bear & Wolf which is also available on Amazon here. I prefer fresh seafood that I cook myself but it’s nice to have canned salmon on hand when I am lazy but still want to enjoy a big ass salad. This tuna on Amazon is also a steal and cheaper. That tuna that I just linked to on Amazon may be available at your Costco too. I think I remember someone telling me this but I am not sure.

11. Balsamic Vinegar

I’m not sure on the quality of our balsamic vinegar but I don’t use it too often. I love it on salads but don’t use it on a daily basis. It’s always nice to have this product on hand if you are going to enjoy real food. If you see some at your Costco then consider giving it a shot. It tastes great!

12. Frozen Wild Blueberries

Yes, wild. Wild blueberries are smaller than your conventional variety. I prefer local blueberries that I pick myself here in Michigan. It’s easier to freeze but if they run out before coming in season again then I know I can just buy wild blueberries from Costco. Frozen berries are of course great for smoothies. Let them thaw out to eat them as a delicious snack. It’s hard to overeat blueberries.

13. Salsa

Nothing beats homemade salsa but you probably don’t want to make it every time to enjoy it. Salsa is awesome on eggs and of course goes well with a fajita or taco salad. The salsa that is available at your Costco probably has sugar… but how much? Probably only a gram or 2. Take a look at your ingredients and be smart but don’t stress. Stressing about the sugar or 1 poor ingredient in something that you don’t consume too often is more detrimental to your health then consuming it without worry.

14. Wine

Who doesn’t like wine? I am not a fan of beer. Slap me. I love wine. Costco carries a large variety. It will be hard to beat Costco’s prices unless you have a Trader Joe’s nearby.

15. Dark Chocolate Chips

I’m not a huge fan of these because, well, its difficult for me to eat a reasonable amount. I actually like to throw them on salads but am trying to stop consuming them. Someday soon. I think the cacao content is 60%. I prefer 99% but settle for 85% usually. Our Costco has only been carrying these for a few months. The brand is Ghiradelli. If you need to make something with chocolate chips then look for these at Costco.

16. Frozen mixed veggies

Do you think you don’t have time to cook fresh veggies? Buy frozen. Costco carries a wide variety of mixed veggies. Pick up a few bags and throw them in the microwave or heat them on the stove. It’s as easy as it gets. You have no excuses to eating healthy.

17. Fresh produce

Costco does carry fresh produce but the selection won’t be as pretty as your farmer’s market during peak season. Bananas, one of my favorite plant foods, are available year round. If you live in the midwest like I do then you may find yourself buying quite a bit of produce (like bananas) at Costco. A larger supermarket will too but Costco will usually carry the lower price.

What are your favorite foods from Costco? Let the world know by leaving a comment below. I’d love to here your thoughts on my list as well.

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Comments

  1. Berry says

    The costcos in the California Bay Area carry the Wild Planet sardines now at a cheaper price than amazon. They’re good to have on hand for a quick protein source for lunch. These sardines are better than other brands. I used to not like sardines until I tried these. The cans are also BPA free.
    I have found bags of chopped frozen organic spinach spinach, which isn’t my favorite, since it tends to be watery, but if you are adding it to something it would be fine. Other produce i buy there: Mushrooms, cucumbers, carrots, blueberries, strawberries (sometimes) and sometimes cherry tomatoes.
    I have also found cans of Mauna Loa macadamia nuts at one costco. For some reason several of the costcos in our area stopped carrying them.
    You can get Aidell’s organic chicken sausages, organic whole chickens (the cheapest way to buy chicken) as well as breasts or thighs.

  2. Jamee says

    We don’t have a Costco nearby, but we do have a Sam’s Club, which I’m fairly new to. I have bought most of the same that you have listed above there on my bi-weekly shopping trip to Sam’s. I especially like the HUGE boxed salad greens – spinach and spring mix – and the large bags of carrots, celery, and other fresh produce (especially the sweet peppers, cherry tomatoes, and grapes for the kids). I haven’t tried the salmon yet because I went for a cheaper option there, which is wild caught flounder. I buy canned chicken, too, for my salads, but I’m worried that the salt content might be too high. I got an enormous container of very light olive oil for making mayo. They didn’t have the light in cold press, but it’s the only kind I like to use to make my mayo. Anyway, that’s what I like!

  3. says

    I make coercion one of my weekly stops for produce. They have a great price on carrots, and the almond price cant be best. At my store they are about $20 for 3lbs.

  4. Wenchypoo says

    As a member of Sam’s Club ($10/year cheaper than Costco), I only stick to UNorganic stuff I use regularly, like red onions, occasional avocados when they’re cheaper than my health food store, and non-perishables. The health food store I shop at is a members-only store, so essentially it’s a buying club, and many of their products are cheaper than elsewhere…including Amazon. The only things I regularly buy that Amazon occasionally beats them on is certain specific supplements, Crown Prince low-sodium canned salmon, and Naked Coconut Water.

    Our family has issues with sodium, and pre-packaged foods (like salads) that you can make yourself with just a knife, some greens, and about 10 minutes, or whole veggies, a knife, a wax paper-covered cookie sheet, a freezer, and about 20 minutes + freezing time makes OUR OWN frozen veggies–check the sodium levels on the backs of those frozen veg bags.

    We also pay close attention to the Clean 15/Dirty Dozen list, and only buy organic when we truly need to. Our problem with frozen fish products is that although the label may SAY wild, East Coast, or whatever, the bottom of the back of the package usually says “product of China” or some other country warned about from Seafood Watch: http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr/cr_seafoodwatch/sfw_recommendations.aspx?c=ln

    Would YOU eat fish caught in horrifically-polluted waters, or squid/octopus caught using slave labor?

    As for the olive oil, didn’t you read Mark’s Daily Apple about the olive oil-NOT we’re getting in this country? We’re being ripped off by buying stuff (olive oil, honey, etc.) sent here as weak, maybe even toxic versions of the real thing. I’d switch my sweetener to something from the U.S., like maple syrup, or even Medjool dates (imported, yes, but real).

    Your chocolate addiction may not be to chocolate per se, but rather something IN the chocolate–food manufacturers are known to include addictive substances in their formulas…look at fast food, for example. Check the sugar content of it, too–manipulated sugar is what makes opiates.

    From the looks of your shopping list, salt and sugar may be your biggest culprits. Some needless spending (in my opinion) rounds out the list. Other than that, it almost sounds like the 7 Survival Foods list you wrote about some time ago, and I do applaud you for thoughtfully shortening the shopping list. Others would do wise to read and heed, paying attention to salt and sugar.

    • says

      Have you ever tried Amy & Brians coconut water? You are right about fish… wild is not always best! Mark did a series of blog posts on quality seafood last summer. I am not sure if I read Mark’s post on olive oil or not. A lot of it is high quality so how would I know? I guess I am not going to worry about it too much right now. Stressing out about it an do more harm!

  5. Jenentonic says

    Their balsamic vinegar is top notch. And, for the record, I think your list is lovely. I’m not sure where the above Wencypoo is finding all this extraneous salt, but it must be in some cheap crappy bags of veggies somewhere besides Costco. I read labels religiously and have bought literally everything on this list with no concerns about sodium or sugar at all, except obviously chocolate chips have sugar…duh. A good option to the chips is the big block of 85% chocolate from Trader Joe’s just hand chopped. And as long as we are on our high horse, lets talk about Sam’s club and their horrible (Walmart) employee practices. It’s worth my $10 per year that Costco pays their employees a living wage and provides them with benefits.
    I love your list, Mr Toad.

    • says

      Yes, coffee! We buy the K-Cups. I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed the herbs and spices from Costco. I may have to give them a shot when a spice is in need.

  6. kell says

    this list is great! i also buy 2 huge bottles of organic pure lemon juice for super cheap . . . oh and usually a trashy gossip magazine :)

    • says

      We bought the organic lemon juice once and loved it! I totally forgot about it! Thank you for the reminder!

  7. Denis says

    Smoked Wild Alaskan Salmon is relatively cheap at Costco. My mom enjoys buying it and I have become a bit addicted to it. I would suggest giving it a try.

  8. Alice says

    Steaks! No, they’re not grass-fed, but the quality & price for USDA Prime ribeyes at Costco is excellent. We also like the Kirkland brand reduced sodium bacon.

  9. Andrea says

    Frozen berries, almond butter, organic quinoa if you’re gonna allow that. If they carried canned coconut milk I’d have a basement full …

  10. says

    We buy almond butter, organic carrots, nuts (almonds, walnuts, and pecans), coffee, chicken sausages, and various produce depending on what’s in season. Our Costco also usually has organic/free range whole chickens and buffalo meat. We also usually buy the things on your list. Costco can be a good deal for some things, but I’ve noticed you really have to pay attention to prices to know if you are getting a deal or not!

  11. says

    I could agree with you more on this post!

    My kids love the wild blueberries for smoothies. I often put unsweetened coconut flakes on the blueberries and we call it “snow on a mountain”.

    I buy bananas at Costco too for my smoothies. I will slice my bananas up and coat them in a nice layer of almond butter then I freeze them for fun frozen snack that tastes like ice cream – seriously.

    I have several more ideas on my paleo blog…

  12. Richard says

    Hey dude,
    was just curious: is your blog theme on a slider/rotator sort of setup? Everytime i come to primal toad it looks different… not sure if its just me seeing it change almost on a daily basis – whats going on

  13. cynthia says

    Being a newbie, I cannot thank you Todd and everyone else for the information and inspiration!

  14. andy says

    If where your veggies come from is a big deal to you, make sure you check the labels. I used to always get their frozen organic broccoli until I saw that it is a ‘Product of China’. No thank you.

  15. says

    If your lucky, Trader Joe’s has cheap Kerry Gold and Kerry Gold Cheese. I stock up whenever I go. The butter is $2.89 vs $4.00 at our local store. Why not shop for local cheese and butter from grass-fed cows?

    • says

      I am in Chicago a lot and I can go to a TJ’s there and buy Kerry gold butter for $2.79 I believe for half a pound. I have yet to spot the cheese there.

  16. says

    Aussie bites! Densely packed with seeds & little chunks of dried fruit. Easy to transport or eat in the car while commuting. Flavorful & filling.

  17. says

    Thanks for this post Toad! I like the MaraNatha’s Creamy Almond Butter at Costco. It isn’t raw or organic, but it’ll do and it is way more affordable than Trader Joe’s or Amazon even.

    Also, ditto on the Kalamata olives, yum. We are in the Northeast and find you can’t beat the price on the spices. Sea salt, basil, etc. My husband can’t get enough of the salt-free spice. We just had it tonight as a dry rub on some grass-fed sirloin. LOVE IT!

    • says

      I’ll guess that not every single Costco carries Kerrygold. But, ours here in GR did not carry it until recently so do look for it. If they don’t carry it today then recommend it. It won’t hurt but may help!

  18. says

    I love this post thank you so much! I also buy the S&W Organic Diced Tomatoes and Tomato Paste. Helps when making all the sauces to have a stock pile on hand!

    • says

      Yes we have some tomato sauce. I never knew they had tomato paste though! I may have to pick some up.

  19. says

    I love costco, this list is helpful. Glad to know the Kirkland EVOO is good – I’ve been buying it because of the price and I like the taste but in the back of my head thought “oh please really be as good as you seem”. Will have to try the Kerry Gold – I have seen it but didn’t realize it was grass fed-yay!

    • says

      I actually now think that the Costco olive oil is not the best! It’s hard to know for sure really but I am just not sure about it. I don’t personally but it myself and probably never will unless I go to the farm where the olives are grown.

  20. Jandemom says

    Organic broccoli in the freezer section. Conviently packaged in 16 oz bags (I think four in a package). Also love avocados in bulk and large almond butter. I like the organic chicken but say no thanks to the organic beef…package states it comes from three different countries :(. Also not grass fed…at least I am assuming that. GR has awesome local meat. Lubbers farm is our fave. Great grass fed beef and affordable!

    • says

      Be careful with the frozen veggies, even though they say organic. I bought the organic versions of broccoli and green beans at Costco, and they have a dirty taste which I cannot get over. I buy frozen organic vegetables from reputable companies at the store, and they have always tasted yummy and fresh.

  21. Robin Tawfall says

    Do a bit more research on Kerrygold as we contacted them directly and were told their animals are fed with GMO grain. We were so sorry to hear this.

    • says

      Dave Asprey was saying something about Kerrygold butter on the low carb cruise that I went on in May of this year. I don’t remember what exactly but I think it may have been this. I believe it’s just a small amount and it is still the best brand out there…

      • Robin Tawfall says

        Personally I think any amount is too much as I am sure that we are all consuming GMO laden products we just haven’t discovered yet and Costco does carry organic butter and cheese.

        • says

          You may be right in that any amount is too much. But stress is a big killer too. When I posted about this on my fb fan page some people were beginning to freak out.

  22. Ktietje85 says

    The Tillamook cheese my Costco carries is “heat shocked” (heated rapidly to only 150 degrees, below the point of pasteurization) and is mostly from grass-fed cows. I buy that. And Kerrygold, and some imported, raw sheep’s milk Romano. These are “musts.” Sometimes I buy walnuts, quinoa (well, we’re not really Paleo, just real food), coconut oil, random other stuff. We are there every couple of weeks!

  23. Penny says

    Great list, thank you!
    Here in Canada, the available items are a bit different. We like the organic EVOO, organic coconut oil, organic spinach, organic nectarines (seasonal), organic strawberries and blueberries (seasonal), organic frozen wild blueberries and organic frozen superfruit blend, Harvest Gold macadamia nuts (not raw, but affordable for us and dry roasted with just sea salt added – and not gross salty, as so many salted nuts are), organic whole chickens, organic ground beef, frozen wild salmon, organic salsa, hemp hearts, organic eggs (when we can’t get to the farmer’s market to pick up the $6 pack of 18, Costco’s $9 pack of 18 is the next best value), Larabars, organic baby carrots, organic quinoa (we have two toddlers, I am nursing my daughter, and my boyfriend works out, so we are happy to include a higher amount of unrefined carbs in our diet), and sweet potatoes (same as the quinoa). Obviously, we love Costco!
    We used to buy avocadoes, but we get a better deal on them elsewhere. We also used to buy the ‘raw’ almonds, but I read online that they are pastuerized with PPO as opposed to steam, so we stopped. We tried the almond butter, but it is just not good at all compared to raw.

  24. says

    I am new to all of this, I decided today to go for this diet, and you all have given me a wealth of information. I have severe stomach problems and a weight problem that I seriously think this diet can cure. I am going to give it my best shot, and keep reading for more info for dieters and those who eat well and healthy, now to work on my family ; )

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